Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, May 11, 2015 at 12:00 AM
THE NBA PLAYOFFS REALLY HEAT UP!!!
Say it with us, ladies and gents –
This past weekend the NBA Playoffs gave us not one, not two but three buzzer-beater games in all (just none of them in Los Angeles, okay?) and so last-second thrillers – all in the Eastern Conference Semifinal Round, as a matter of fact – has pro hoop fans clamoring for more – wouldn’t you say?
We head into this new work week with Washington up on Atlanta two games-to-one while Cleveland and Chicago’s knotted up two games apiece; plenty of drama in the West where Memphis looks to garner a 3-1 series lead this evening versus Golden State while the Los Angeles Clippers will try to put the finishing touches on a “dead” Houston team come Tuesday night. Maybe Dwight Howard and friends can actually stick around for the whole night come Game 5!
Now, here’s the NBA Playoff men for this Monday/Tuesday evenings –
Tonight, it’s –
EASTERN CONFERENCE –
#1 ATLANTA at #5 WASHINGTON – 7 p.m. ET, TNT; Wizards lead series 2-1
Go ahead and say it – “The Truth” hurts!
Washington Wizards 37-year-old small forward Paul Pierce – a/k/a “The Truth” – has enjoyed more than a few “15 minutes of fame” in his life on an NBA court and last Saturday’s sick 22-foot bank shot with no time left that beat Atlanta 103-101 might wind up going down in D.C. hoops history as one of the franchise’s greatest shots providing the Wizards can wind up winning it all this June.
But know this:
If the Wizards – who once led Game 3 by 21 points – need a Pierce prayer shot to win than playing with fire might well come back to burn ‘em.
In this gigantic Game 4 showdown in Washington, the host Wizards need to hoist (and make) lots of triples after going a modest 10-of-28 from beyond the arc in Game 3 but Pierce needs to inject more youthful enthusiasm into this game as the Wiz kids continue to play without injured PG John Wall (and it sure sounds as if he’s not coming back anytime soon!).
The Hawks – meanwhile – have fingers crossed that F Paul Millsap (flu-like symptoms in Game 3) can contribute more than 8 points and play more than 23 minutes and before anyone verbally blasts the East’s top seeds can we remind one-and-all that Atlanta’s now a collective 53-36-2 ATS (against the spread) this year including the post-season – a nifty .596 winning rate versus the vig!
Here’s how this playoff series has gone so far between the Hawks and the Wizards (and note all home teams are in CAPS):
WESTERN CONFERENCE –
#1 GOLDEN STATE at #5 MEMPHIS – approximately 9:30 p.m. ET, TNT; Grizzlies lead series 2-1
News flash from Memphis –
The stats didn’t lie in Game 3!
The Golden State Warriors – the West’s top-seeded team and one of the league’s real offensive dynamo teams dating back the past 40-or-so years – shot a woeful 6-of-26 from beyond the three-point line last weekend in that 99-89 loss as the 4.5-point underdog Grizzlies and so that makes it twice in a row that G-State scored less than 100 points and twice in a row Steve Kerr’s club came out losers (in all fairness the Warriors scored just 97 points in Game 2 of that opening-round sweep against New Orleans, but you get the picture!)
So, here we enter Game 4 with Golden State’s backcourt not-so-golden lately as MVP Stephon Curry and Klay Thompson combined to go 16-of-34 from the floor for 43 points in that latest loss and maybe it’s time to send out a rescue crew to find out where the Warriors’ bench has gone after reserves shot a murky 7-of-18 from the floor last Saturday night.
If the Grizz – a 5-point home dog tonight at last check -- is gonna snag a three games-to-one series lead then we all know burly big men Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol (a combined 43 points with 23 rebounds in Game 3) must make life miserable for the hole-in-the-middle Warriors and defensive whiz Tony Allen must continue to make those clean swipes in the open court and get in on a bunch of hustle plays (see four steals and one block in Game 3).
A pointspread note for all to digest here:
Memphis is a slick 8-2-1 spreadwise in its last 11 overall games while Golden State’s failed to cover eight of its last 10 tilts – just sayin’!
Here’s how this playoff series has gone so far between the Warriors and the Grizzlies (home teams in CAPS):
|5-5||Memphis||+ 10||GOLDEN ST.||97-90|
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers continue to rake in the profits in this year’s NBA Playoffs and we’ll continue to rock-n-roll through the post-season all week long.
Go online right here at www.jimhurley.com or call our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 each/every day and cash in with all the NBA Playoffs and remember there’s Major-League Baseball on tap every day too!
On Tuesday, it’s –
EASTERN CONFERENCE –
#3 CHICAGO at #2 CLEVELAND – 7 p.m. ET, TNT; Series tied 2-2
Talk about some good fortune!
The Cleveland Cavaliers wound up getting this split in Game 3 and 4 in Chitown even though first-year head coach David Blatt called a time out when he didn’t have one, even though Blatt’s last-second out-of-bounds play was overruled by LeBron James who canned the corner jumper and – get this – even though “The King” was playing on a bum ankle in the game’s final quarter.
Did we forget to add the fact that James shot a composite 18-of-55 from the floor (that’s a wobbly 32.7 percent) in the two games at the United Center and so very easily this could be a three games-to-one Bulls series lead but instead we do indeed have a series on our hands here thanks in large part to J.R. Smith’s three key trifectas in the fourth quarter of Game 4.
What gives in Game 5 back at Quicken Loans Arena?
Well, James is hoping his rolled ankle is better and ditto for PG Kyrie Irving who shot a crummy 2-of-10 from the field for 12 points with a sprained right foot in Game 3 but the Bulls need their injured star Pau Gasol (hamstring) to suit up after he was a “DNP” in Game 4 and perhaps someone can help Derrick Rose/Jimmy Butler (combined for 50 points in Game 4 after Rose drained that Game 3 buzzer-beater last Friday night) put some points on the board as we’ve been waiting for Mike Dunleavy (1-of-7 FGs in Game 4) or someone off the Chicago bench to do something positive.
The pointspread notes here: The Bulls have notched spread wins in nine of their last dozen games overall while the Cavaliers are 5-13 vig-wise in their last 18 games played against NBA Central squads.
Here’s how this playoff series has gone so far between the Bulls and the Cavaliers (home teams in CAPS):
WESTERN CONFERENCE –
#3 LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS at #2 HOUSTON – approximately 9:30 p.m. ET, TNT; Clippers lead series 3-1
Let’s do a quickie review here first before we rattle on regarding Game 5 in the Space City:
The Clippers took that dopey Hack-A-DeAndre Jordan (see 10-of-28 free throws for the big guy in the first half of Sunday night’s 128-95 win against heartless/gutless Houston) and stuck that strategy where the sun don’t shine!
And one other thing –
We agree with TNT studio analyst Charles Barkley and sidekick Kenny “The Jet” Smith – the former said the Rockets have “not competed” in this series through the first four games while the latter stated Houston’s played with “no effort” en route the first four games of this best-of-seven set.
Mark it down that league MVP runner-up James Harden (5-of-12 FGs for the quietest 21 points we’ve ever seen) has been a real non-factor this series while Jordan’s dunks plus those windmill-to-the-hoop shots by LAC’s Blake Griffin (see 21 points and 8 rebs in Game 4’s blowout win) have absolutely deflated the Rockets.
Got any “onions”, Houston head coach Kevin McHale and Company?
From the vig department: The Clippers – 4-0 ATS in this series – are 9-3 spreadwise in their last dozen head-to-head games against the Rockets.
Here’s how this playoff series has gone so far between the Clippers and the Rockets (home teams in CAPS):
NOTE: More NBA Playoff coverage in the next Jim Sez plus get our MLB and NFL Notes too.